Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Celebrate 175th Anniversary Mass with Bishop Hying

A special Mass for the Sinsinawa Dominican congregation’s 175th anniversary was held at Sinsinawa Mound March 20, 2022. Bishop of Madison Donald J. Hying (center) presided and used the chalice of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli. Those serving as extraordinary eucharistic ministers were (from left) Sisters Mary Margaret (Marie Antoine) Murphy, Priscilla Torres, Ellie (Francesco) Hoffmann, and Laura (Bernal) Goedken; Janice DeMuth (coworker); and Karen Timmerman (associate/coworker).

The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa held an 11 a.m. Mass March 20 in honor of their 175th yearlong anniversary celebration of the congregation with Diocese of Madison Bishop Donald J. Hying presiding in Queen of the Rosary Chapel at Sinsinawa Mound. Those present included sisters of the congregation and the leadership councils of neighboring congregations of sisters, coworkers, Dominican Associates of Sinsinawa, and invited guests. Due to continued COVID restrictions, the Mass was livestreamed for others to attend virtually.

The mood, music, and liturgy matched the beauty of the illuminated slab glass windows of Queen of the Rosary Chapel. Sister Toni Harris, OP, who serves as the 14th prioress of the congregation, gave a welcome, beginning with the congregation’s land acknowledgment statement. She described how the Congregation’s Motherhouse at Sinsinawa started out in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, was part of the La Crosse Diocese for a time, and is now in the Madison Diocese, “but we never moved!”

Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, established the congregation in 1847 with a small group of immigrant women. “Since, nearly 3,400 women have made vows as Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. Two more will make perpetual vows in May,” said Sister Toni. The sisters are celebrating their history and looking forward to their future. She acknowledged that Lent is not ordinarily the season of celebration and ended with, “Lives can be miraculously reborn if we find the courage to live them in accordance with the Gospel. Holding this hope, let us fully embrace the challenge of Father Samuel that we have heard thousands of times, embrace it in a new way, and set out into the years ahead for ‘any place where the work is great and difficult, but where also with the help of the one who sends us we shall open the way for the Gospel.’”

Bishop Hying gave thanks to God for the congregation and their rich spiritual legacy. “Before Wisconsin even became a state, your community was here. None of you look that old, by the way,” he joked. “So many of you have given your entire lives to this work, this mission, this community, and to your charism.” He reflected on the sisters’ call to enter religious life, the places they have ministered, and “the people whose lives that have been touched and enriched and informed because of your wisdom, your holiness, your prayer, your consecration. Only God can measure the ultimate impact of nearly 3,400 women radically consecrated to Christ and the service of the Gospel. None of us can ever fully measure or weigh the glory of that impact. This is a beautiful moment to celebrate your legacy.”

Bishop Hying brought forth the gospel message of surrendering to God, “who is in charge and working out the purpose of salvation.” He spoke of Father Mazzuchelli’s trust in divine providence and the legacy the sisters and others have continued. Bishop Hying closed with, “For all that has transpired and has been completely a blessing to the world and to the Church because of your community, we give thanks and praise.”

The Mass can be viewed online at by clicking on the “on demand” tab. To recognize the 175th anniversary of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, send a donation to Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or go to online.

The Sinsinawa Dominicans invite you to learn more about our worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. For over 800 years, Dominicans have continued to preach the Gospel in word and deed. Today, thousands of sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world. Visit our website at